Thanks to Anthony Hopkins' chilling portrayal of the character in "The Silence of the Lambs" and later two sequels, Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter now stands as one of the most enduring big-screen villains in cinema history...and also one I don't think any of us ever envisioned being the central character in a network TV series.

Nevertheless, it's being reported that NBC has taken a gamble on that very idea, with the Peacock network pre-emptively purchasing an hour-long drama project entitled "Hannibal" from writer/executive-producer Bryan Fuller ("Pushing Daisies") and Gaumont International Television. Martha De Laurentiis, the widow of original franchise producer Dino De Laurentiis (and herself a producer on three previous Hannibal films), is also serving as exec-producer.

As reported by Deadline, if the network likes Fuller's script "Hannibal" will go straight to series with a 13-episode commitment, thereby bypassing the pilot stage that most new shows are forced to endure. And if not...then perhaps it was simply never meant to be. Indeed, the project certainly feels like an odd fit for NBC given the grisly nature of the character's...habits, though it's true that the standards for on-screen violence on broadcast television have eased up quite a bit since Hopkins' iteration of Lecter first gave everyone nightmares over 20 years ago.

Still, it seems like this might work better on one of the cable networks, no?